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Perspectives

Public sector enterprise resource planning

Government ERP adoption

Postmodern enterprise resource planning (ERP) bridges the gap between the original promise of ERP and the realities of deploying it in the public sector. It can give public sector and information technology (IT) leaders a pragmatic way to deliver efficiencies and business insights to stakeholders. It provides a more flexible and agile approach to transforming your ERP environment to help you realize benefits faster and lower costs and risks.

The realities of government ERP today

Public sector ERP has reached a critical turning point. At the same time ERP solutions are showing their age, many public sector leaders, employees, and constituents are asking for improved customer experiences, increased efficiency, and greater transparency. IT leaders are often under pressure to shift attention and dollars to new and emerging technologies—including real-time and predictive analytics, mobility, digital, and cloud—that promise to transform the way government fulfills its mission.

Public sector faces other challenges when it comes to implementing ERP solutions. On top of budget restrictions and increased service-level demands, many public sector agencies require highly specialized functionality and controls.

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Embracing the future of ERP

Postmodern ERP provides a pragmatic alternative to what has historically been a trade-off between business functionality and IT needs. This trade-off has led to the mix of monolithic systems and industry-specific point solutions most public sector organizations manage today.

Adopting this new approach allows for an environment with a mix of vendors and functionality, on premise or in the cloud. Cloud-based solutions have lowered the total cost of ownership, reduced implementation times, and made it easier to incorporate best-in-breed solutions with the critical functionality in core ERP.

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What is postmodern ERP?
An enterprise applications approach that deconstructs a legacy ERP suite into a looser set of business functions. In postmodern ERP, a core ERP system is supplemented with specialized cloud solutions to meet unique business needs.

Seven steps to deliver on the promise of postmodern ERP

Choosing a postmodern strategy for your ERP is a great start—but it’s no silver bullet. Realizing the full potential of postmodern ERP takes work. Business and IT leaders need to pay attention to seven key areas:

  1. Build a business case: The business case should highlight ways to increase efficiencies and deliver better experiences for constituents and employees—for example, consider laying the groundwork for a future where everything is a service (XaaS). Include quick wins to help build momentum for the transformation.
  2. Lead with a strategy: Early in the process, make strategic decisions about how you will address customization, cloud adoption, the implementation process, and other key capabilities. Prioritize business process improvements and define a five-year migration roadmap for the strategy.
  3. Build an architecture roadmap: Look at your unique industry and sector requirements. Determine which core ERP system is the best fit and identify specialized point applications to support it. Prioritize incremental initiatives and define the cloud migration approach, procurement steps, and scope.
  4. Establish standard enterprise data governance: Aspire to become an insight-driven organization—one that embeds analysis, data, and reasoning into the decision-making process every day. Start with a roadmap for the data you’ll need to capture based on the insights you need to deliver on your mission. Clearly define data ownership, governance, standards, and approaches for data interoperability.
  5. Loosen control without losing it: Regardless of the number of application vendors involved, a postmodern approach isn’t a return to best of breed. It leverages vendor-delivered integration in the core ERP while establishing standards and governance that give business leaders the flexibility to plug in point solutions to fill functional gaps.
  6. Manage cyber risk: When evaluating cloud-based options, start from a risk-centered perspective. Which government operations are most vulnerable to cyber risk? How can new features in cloud-based ERP solutions provide additional security functionality? A postmodern approach to ERP based on cloud technology and third-party vendors may actually improve security, since cloud vendors are better equipped than most states to stay on top of emerging cyber threats.
  7. Establish program governance: This step is critical to postmodern ERP success. Create an ERP project management organization (PMO) chartered with establishing governance. The PMO should provide standardized processes and tools for project management, software evaluation and procurement, change management, data governance, cloud governance, and other critical success factors.

It is important that business and IT collaborate to address critical success elements when considering ERP transformation. With the right strategy and roadmap aligned to your unique requirements, postmodern ERP can be a more flexible and agile approach to transforming your ERP environment.

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